#BlogsCanada.ca
"The Pulse of Canada "


 
 

 
Family

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Family, a Century Ago

Posted March 28, 2015 by Ian Chadwick

The gentleman in the uniform on the right is William Gordon Pudney, Chief Petty Officer and engineer on the cruiser, Niobe, one of the earliest ship’s in Canada’s fledgling navy. William (Bill) was born in Canada, in 1893. He is perhaps in his early 20s in this undated photograph, taken a century or more ago, […]

Full Story »

 
General

Part 8: 100 Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield

Posted March 27, 2015 by Chuck Black

Happy Times, Planning for the Future, HARP Defunded and The Chapman Report



By Robert Godwin 
This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief synopsis of the history of astronautics in Canada.
The author wishes to thank the late Dr Phil Lapp and his wife Colleen Lapp for their permission to reveal some of Dr Lapp’s memoirs. Dr Lapp was a founder of the the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and of SPAR Aerospace. 
He passed away in 2013; the text herein was written by Robert Godwin.

As early as September 1963 a 3000 acre solid fuel rocket plant had been established at Rockwood Manitoba for supplying rocket propellant to the Churchill launch site. The site was built by Bristol and Aerojet-General for $2M.[i] USAF expertise and money flowed into Churchill where a dedicated team of research scientists continued to launch ever more complex and sophisticated payloads into the upper atmosphere.

The Canadian built Black Brant IV would ultimately fly an 18 kg payload to 1000 km and it was determined that given a small increase in budget it could have quickly been upgraded to orbital capability. A large “auroral” launch building was completed at the Churchill site and allowed the scientists to work on their payload while sheltered from the climate. Black Brant would soon be competing with Bull’s HARP for the limited Canadian government funds available.

Gerald Bull used the media and all of his many intellectual assets to keep HARP’s money flowing. Eventually by the summer of 1964 he managed to effectively embarrass the Canadian government into matching the US Army funding for HARP.[ii] At this point the second HARP test site began construction in Highwater, Quebec.

Later in 1964 the Canadian government signed an agreement with the United States to place three more satellites into space, all from the launch site at Vandenberg. This project became known as the International Satellites for Ionospheric Studies (ISIS) and was successfully conducted over the ensuing seven years. 

The first ISIS satellite was named Alouette II and was launched November 29th 1965. RCA Victor was selected as prime contractor with SPAR as an associate. RCA Canada, based in Montreal, defined its role as “space research, satellite work, and earth based facilities in support of satellites.” RCA’s checkered history in Canada has a heritage that stretched all the way back to 1899 and Emile Berliner, who had invented the flat phonograph record and the microphone used in Bell’s telephones. 
Montreal became a nexus for electronics and communications technology, in part because Marconi also set up the Canadian Marconi Company there in 1903. Berliner was bought out in 1924 by Victor Talking Machine Company which in turn was bought out in 1929 by the quasi-government Radio Corporation of America.[iii] The fight over who would control trans-Atlantic communications, Britain or America, certainly spurred the development of the robust electronics industry in Montreal. The century-long battle evolved from undersea cables to radio and ultimately to satellites. In 1977 RCA’s Government and Commercial Systems Division was purchased by SPAR.[iv] Berliner’s factory built in 1920 on Rue Lenoir in Montreal played a major role until RCA closed it down in the 1980s.

In May 1966 while on a trip to France Dr Lapp was telephoned by John Chapman who also happened to be in France at that moment. Chapman asked Lapp to meet him to discuss a new study group ordered by Dr Omond Solandt of the Science Council of Canada (SCC). This study group was charged by the SCC to come up with proposals for the future course of Canada’s space program, specifically towards developing policy for space communications, space and upper atmosphere research, and how these activities should be organized and funded.[v]

Lapp and Chapman spent that evening cruising down the Seine while discussing their plans for the future. Lapp later recalled that Chapman entered a singing contest with a group of “lively Australians” and won the day with a rousing version of Alouette. The only time he claims he ever saw Chapman “let his hair down.”
The SCC study group included Chapman, Lapp, Gordon Patterson of the University of Toronto and Peter Forsyth of the University of Western Ontario. Patterson, a U of T graduate and ex-member of Kurt Stehling’s rocket club, had distinguished himself in the 1930s as scientific officer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. Chapman’s SCC group held meetings in eleven cities across Canada for four months in 1966 before heading south to meet with Robert Seamans at NASA and then travelling as far afield as Europe and Japan for consultations.[vi]

The final report was written by individual members of the Study Group and many others from across the country. I wrote Part III, HARP-McGill, the section dealing with Dr Gerry Bull and his big guns, and the section on the Black Brant program,” Dr. Phil Lapp.[vii]

By this time Black Brant and HARP were the two biggest projects in the Canadian aerospace budget. Many contractors around the country were involved, including Heroux of Quebec who made various probes for HARP and later made the legs for the Apollo Lunar Module.

_______________________________________________________________________________
The SCC sponsored report appeared in February 1967 under the title Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs in Canada but soon became known as simply The Chapman Report since that was the way it was described in the follow up from the SCC which was entitled A Space Program for Canada
The most notable recommendation from the group was the formation of a national space agency. This proposed new organization would be both a national advisory body and contracting agency. This was consistent with a recommendation which had been put forth by The Royal Commission on Government Organization as early as January 1963. Input from all parts of industry and academia considered the consolidation of the national effort as the most useful solution to many of the problems inherent in the various programs underway. Despite this, that particular recommendation would still not be implemented for another 22 years. 

One of the most problematic issues was the discrepancy between public and private budgets. At the time of the report government researchers in Canada received ten times the compensation that their industry peers received.

And while Universities definitely wanted a national governing space body, they didn’t see any use for Gerald Bull’s HARP. Most of the experiments that were planned simply couldn’t withstand the shock of a HARP launch. Despite Dr Lapp’s opinion that HARP could serve a meaningful purpose, the budget share that Bull had carved out from the Canadian government was simply too high.

Other important recommendations from Chapman’s group included staking a claim to GEO locations between 75 degrees W and 115 degrees W for Canadian communications satellites. They also recommended that the government allocate the same percentage of the GNP to space as the United States (0.1%). Despite lower amounts of GNP allocated in other space-faring countries the Study Group felt that living so close to the United States would create too much temptation for more of Canada’s top scientific minds to move south in search of bigger budgets.

PDF copies of “Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs in Canada,” by J.H. Chapman, P.A. Forsyth, P.A. Lapp and G.N. Patterson, also known as the “Chapman Report,” are available online by clicking on the link. Document c/o Phil Lapp.

The Churchill Research Range and the Black Brant were deemed by the Study Group to be good enough for orbital launches. They recommended that Canada should take over full responsibility for CRR (which they did until closing it in 1985) and that by strapping multiple Black Brants together or modifying the Scout launcher, or even giving Bull more money, Canada could quickly develop its own orbital launch capability. None of these recommendations were followed.

Other suggestions included building a robust satellite industry; changing the allocation of certain frequencies to allow for the possibility of direct satellite television transmissions; a coordinated effort to organise the different university programs; and if necessary in the future, encouraging life science researchers to cooperate with foreign programs.

However, the three most notable recommendations that Olandt took to the Minister were, a national agency, the need for comm-sats by 1971 and a Canadian satellite launch capability. Of the three, the first two were eventually implemented.

The three sections of the Chapman Report were broken down into history, treaties and Gerald Bull’s HARP. Despite the special attention given to Bull’s mega-project, by November 1967 the tide had begun to turn against HARP.

Robert Godwin.
After the Chapman Report was published Canada’s fragmented space efforts continued much as before, with the notable exception of Bull’s HARP, which was deprived of Canadian funding at the end of June 1967.
_____________________________________________________________
Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books. He is also the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music. 

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Footnotes

[i] Globe and Mail Sep 20 1963
[ii] Ibid. July 16 1964
[iii] http://www.berliner.montreal.museum/site/enberlinerplus.html
[iv] Phil Lapp Memoir pg 227
[v] Ibid. Pg 178
[vi] Ibid. Pg 178
[vii] Ibid. Pg 179


Last Week:STEMs around the World, the USAF gets Churchill and Gerald Bull’s Gun,” in part 7 of “100 years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield.”
Next Week:SPAR, Telesat, UTIAS rescues Apollo 13 and Churchill Expands but then Closes,” as part 9 of “100 years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield” continues!

Full Story »

 
General

Part 7: 100 Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield

Posted March 20, 2015 by Chuck Black

STEMs around the World, the USAF gets Churchill and Gerald Bull’s Gun



By Robert Godwin 
This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief synopsis of the history of astronautics in Canada.

The author wishes to thank the late Dr Phil Lapp and his wife Colleen Lapp for their permission to reveal some of Dr Lapp’s memoirs. Dr Lapp was a founder of the the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and of SPAR Aerospace. 

He passed away in 2013; the text herein was written by Robert Godwin.

Just four days after the successful launch of Alouette, STEM antennae flew into space aboard Sigma 7.[i] In a clear indication of the times, Lapp’s team had built and shipped them on an emergency basis, they were installed by McDonnell and flown as a backup to Schirra’s main comm-system.

Communication was vastly improved by the dipole capability of STEM. Schirra later commented in his debrief, “When I made HF checks, I’m sure that I was in dipole. I heard all sorts of stuff on the HF checks. I heard people talking all over the world. Frankly, I wasted too much time on other occasions trying to call people back saying I heard you.”

One of the little known functions of Alouette was also to study the remnants of Starfish Prime, the United States’ space detonation of a nuclear warhead, which had taken place the previous July.[ii]

Some concern had been raised about launching Schirra into the region where the nuclear test had left a trail of radiation trapped by the Earth’s magnetic field. Some satellites were completely disabled by this radiation and indeed the electro-magnetic pulse had caused black-outs in Hawaii. Alouette was the perfect instrument to study these artificially created radiation belts.

STEMs soon became integral to the Gemini, America’s two-man spacecraft, which had revolutionary design features provided by James Chamberlin of Avro, another University of Toronto graduate. The STEMs for Gemini had to be stronger and more complex so that they could be used as recovery antennae, which deployed after reentry, and could withstand the waves in the ocean. STEM was also highly visible on the Agena target vehicle.[iii]

The many Canadians from Avro who had taken posts at NASA had now mostly moved to Houston. They were keeping very busy on the Gemini and fledgling Apollo programs.

In the spring of 1962, Owen Maynard, one of the Avro Arrow team and yet another University of Toronto graduate, was managing the lunar lander office for NASA.

In April of that year Maynard drew up his ideas for a manned lunar landing vehicle. Later that year Grumman won the contract to build the Lunar Module and renowned Grumman president Tom Kelly would work closely with Maynard for the next seven years. Kelly’s team often referred back to Maynard’s original design during their legendary seven year battle to build the LM.

In 1964 noted Soviet space academician Leonid Sedov visited DeHavilland at Downsview and was given a briefing on STEM. At the time Dr Lapp was suspicious of Sedov’s motives and found his questions about STEM to be “too penetrating” so he cut the tour short. Despite his sense of unease Sedov was allowed to leave with a small piece of STEM beryllium/copper as a souvenir.

Three years later Dr Lapp noticed that Sedov’s team had reverse engineered the STEM and they were on display on all of the Soviet satellites at EXPO 67. Lapp later confronted their spokesman (who he felt had been making some unwarranted claims about superior Soviet technology) by pointing out on live television that all of their satellites had Canadian designed antennae.[iv]

By the 1970s thousands of STEMs of different shapes and composition were flying in space. Indeed, STEMs were attached to the early Soviet probes sent to Mars.

Later STEM would be installed on the Hubble Space Telescope and aboard the service modules of the last three Apollo moon missions. John MacNaughton, VP of SPAR, would later say that STEM is what gave SPAR the influence and leverage to sell NASA on the Canadarm.[v]
_______________________________________________________________________________

In 1962 responsibility for Churchill was turned over to the USAF. This was consistent with the trends in the United States in the early 1960s. The Army’s role in missiles was rapidly diminishing. The von Braun missile team had been turned over to NASA on July 1st 1960. From that point forward missile and rocket launching activities rapidly fell under the purview of the US Air Force and NASA.

The schism between the Air Force and the Army over who should control missiles had first happened in Nazi Germany, then in the Soviet Union and finally in the United States. In the case of the USA, the Air Force and their contractor lobbyists, had successfully pushed the Army out of the missile business, all that was left for the Army was artillery.[vi]

While Canada’s space program was now following the conventions already laid down by the Soviets and the Americans, at least one engineer had more ambitious plans for Canada and was willing to take advantage of the US Army’s recent deprivation.

As early as 1959 Gerald Bull, now a research scientist at CARDE, had entered discussions with the US Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory to build a gun capable of high velocity space launch capability. By 1962 Bull had moved to McGill University in Montreal and had persuaded the US Army, which was now more-or-less out of the missile business, into financing his design for a gun launch system.

In the summer of 1962 a 16 inch gun, along with its requisite equipment was transported to Barbados to be installed there for test firings. A second 16 inch gun was later shipped to Quebec to be installed near to the Vermont border and to be used for horizontal test firings, while a third would later be installed in Yuma Arizona.

Bull had increased his expertise in the field of large calibre artillery when he had helped in the development of the Avro Arrow. Bull had been firing sabots and missiles from Point Petre in Ontario in the mid to late 1950s.[vii] He was also involved in the firing of large rockets carrying scale models of the Arrow; many of which landed in Lake Ontario.

Bull’s large gun was christened Project HARP (for High Altitude Research Program.) By 1966 HARP also had its installation in Yuma Arizona operational where a 120′ long HARP gun was shooting payloads to altitudes of 180km. There weren’t many useful payloads that could withstand the acceleration loads of a HARP launch, which under certain circumstances could exceed 60,000g’s.

Robert Godwin.
However, more than one payload successfully transmitted data from space after being launched by HARP. Delicate payloads were out of the question, but one experiment considered perfect for HARP was to explode a canister of dust, just before reentry, to simulate a nuclear reactor breakup in space. This was similar to Project High Water, an experiment conducted the same year, in which von Braun and NASA had exploded a tank of water at high altitude for research purposes.
_____________________________________________________________
Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books. He is also the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music. 

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Footnotes

[i] Globe and Mail Oct 4 1962
[ii] Ibid. Oct 6 1962
[iii] Phil Lapp Memoir pg 155
[iv] Ibid. pg 170
[v] Ibid. Pg 157
[vi] Countdown for Decision, MG J.B. Medaris, Putnams, 1960
[vii] Phil Lapp Memoir Pg 111

Last Week: “Alouette, the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, SPAR and STEMs,” in part 6 of “100 years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield.”
Next Week: “Happy Times, Planning for the Future, HARP Defunded and The Chapman Report,” as part 8 of “100 years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield” continues!

Full Story »

 
General

The Philosohy of Populist Change

Posted March 18, 2015 by Anonymous

Will the next generation of leaders be any better than the ones we have today? Well, we can guarantee that they won’t be better if we don’t make sure the ideas for better solutions are around. Milton Friedman and the neo-liberal operatives were very much correct: when a crisis hits, you can only prevail if […]

Full Story »

 
General

Part 6: 100 Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield

Posted March 14, 2015 by Chuck Black

Alouette, the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, SPAR and STEMsBy Robert Godwin This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a b…

Full Story »

 
General

Part 5: 100 Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield

Posted March 7, 2015 by Chuck Black

The Arrow: That Watershed Year when the Best Canadian Engineers moved to the US



By Robert Godwin 
This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief synopsis of the history of astronautics in Canada.

The author wishes to thank the late Dr Phil Lapp and his wife Colleen Lapp for their permission to reveal some of Dr Lapp’s memoirs. Dr Lapp was a founder of the the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and of SPAR Aerospace. 

He passed away in 2013; the text herein was written by Robert Godwin.

1959 would prove to be a watershed year in Canada’s aeronautical and astronautical research.

In January of that year work began at the Defense Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE) in Ottawa, under John Herbert Chapman, to devise a “top-sounding” satellite for Canada which was designed to record how the aurora and interference from the sun could lead to short-wave communications black-outs in the remote northern parts of the country. This satellite would be capable of bouncing radio waves off the ionosphere from above, and it would hopefully provide unique insights not available to researchers who were studying from below. Dr Eldon Warren of DRTE made the first suggestion that Canada attempt the audacious plan to build a multi-band spaceborne radar system. 
At the beginning of October 1958 NASA officially came into existence in the United States; just a few days later a meeting took place at Cornell University in New York State in which Peter Forsyth of the University of Saskatchewan expressed his interest to the Americans in the benefits of a top-sounding satellite, in response to a call put out by the Space Science Board of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.[i]
_______________________________________________________________________________
Also in February of that year the A.V. Roe Company, based in Malton, a suburb of Toronto, was dealt a devastating blow when the CF-105 Arrow interceptor program was cancelled. 
At the end of World War II Sir Roy Dobson had borrowed $1000 to incorporate Avro Canada and had also persuaded C.D. Howe, the so-called “minister of everything“, to lend him the enormous factory where so many Lancaster bombers had been built during the war. By 1957 Dobson’s companies in Canada employed 25,000 people and had assets of $120Mln CDN. 
The company was managed by the dynamic and sometimes abrasive Crawford Gordon who had persuaded the politicians and the Canadian military that Avro was capable of building a world-beating interceptor to defend Canada against any potential threat from the Soviet Union. Just as the first aircraft began to trundle off the production line a new government, under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, decided that Canada could not afford the extravagance of the Arrow and unceremoniously cancelled the program. 
Dr Phil Lapp happened to be in the Prime Minister’s office during one particularly inflammatory encounter between Gordon and Diefenbaker. A few weeks later, on 20th February 1959, Lapp listened in on the telephone as the cancellation announcement came in to Avro. This event became known as “Black Friday” because Gordon immediately announced the lay-off of approximately 13,000 employees. 
_______________________________________________________________________________

The consequences of this moment have been discussed in great detail by many of the participants and also by Arrow scholars such as Chris Gainor[ii] and Randall Whitcomb.[iii]

The principle engineer at Avro, James C. Floyd, would soon leave Canada for England where he would be instrumental in the birth of the Concorde supersonic transport. 
However, undoubtedly the most significant consequence was the immediate windfall for the newly formed NASA in the United States. Within hours of the lay-offs at Malton, Dr Robert Gilruth, head of the Space Task Group in Langley Virginia, landed at Toronto airport and immediately began recruiting the cream of the Avro engineering staff to assist in the recently announced United States’ Man in Space program. 
This “brain drain” would ultimately be one of the many factors taken into consideration years later when considering the need for a Canadian national space agency.
The most notable recruits to NASA from Avro were, James A. Chamberlin (he became Technical Assistant to Robert Gilruth), Owen E. Maynard and Rodney G. Rose (they went on to NASA’s Systems Test Branch, Maynard to head up the lunar lander program), David D. Ewart (Aerodynamics Section), George E. Watts and James E. Farbridge (head and assistant of Loads Section), Eugene L. Duret and Richard B. Erb (Heat Transfer Section), Norman B. Farmer (Electrical Systems Section), Richard R. Carley, Thomas V. Chambers and Stanley Galezowski (Flight Controls Section), John D. Hodge (Assistant to the Division Chief of Operations), Jack Cohen (Mission Analysis Branch), Stanley Cohn and John Shoosmith (Mathematical Analysis Section), Frank J. Chalmers, Dennis E. Fielder, John K. Hughes, C. Frederick Matthews, Leonard E. Packham and Tecwyn Roberts (Control and Flight Safety Section), Bruce A. Aikenhead (Training Aids Section), and Peter J. Armitage (Recovery Operations Branch).[iv]

As can be seen from this list NASA’s Space Task Group, which had been formed by Gilruth with only 36 people on October 5th 1958, inherited a ready-made team to assist the rapidly burgeoning program at Langley. The Canadians showed up for work at the Space Task Group on April 13th 1959, just three months after McDonnell had been issued the contract to build the Mercury spacecraft and more than a year before the von Braun team would move over from the US Army to NASA. For more than twelve months there were more Canadians than Germans at NASA!

Many theories have been postulated for why the Canadian government decided to cancel the CF-105 program, but even Kurt Stehling, who had already moved over to the US space program had spoken out a few months earlier against the expensive interceptor.[v] Stehling later admitted that he had chosen to move to the United States because of his frustration with the way funding was limited in Canada. 

Other engineers such as Wilfred Dukes had left Avro even earlier than the Arrow cancellation; lured by the seemingly unlimited funds south of the border. Dukes would write one of the first papers in the United States on hypersonic re-entry[vi] and would join Walter Dornberger’s team with Stehling at Bell Aircraft in Buffalo in the early 1950s. Duke’s knowledge would be integrated into Bell’s BoMi, a proposed winged space bomber under discussion at that time. Although Bell would not get the contract (Boeing won the bid and named it the X-20), Duke’s know-how would be sought for many years and he would be on the commission to investigate the delays in the Space Shuttle program decades later.[vii] 

Meanwhile, Stehling co-authored a patent at Bell, with famed rocket backpack pioneer Wendell Moore, for the reaction control system which later appeared on the X-15 and would ultimately evolve into the system on the Space Shuttle. 
But in 1958 the prevailing attitude was that missiles would replace aircraft interceptors. The United States’ President Eisenhower had convinced Prime Minister Diefenbaker to purchase the experimental US-made Bomarc missile, but having agreed to the purchase, Diefenbaker refused to allow the missile to be equipped with nuclear warheads.
Robert Godwin.
This led to a further opportunity for DeHavilland’s Special Projects Division, again led by Phil Lapp, to sell their expertise in infra-red tracking and fuses for the Bomarc. However, when Lester Pearson became Prime Minister in 1963 the nuclear warheads were allowed and DeHavilland was suddenly out of a contract again, since nuclear warheads didn’t need infra-red capabilities.[viii]
_____________________________________________________________
Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books. He is also the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music. 

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Footnotes

[i] The Alouette Satellite Program – Colin A. Franklin, Chief Electrical Engineer, Alouette I program
[ii] Arrows to the Moon, Apogee Books 2001
[iii] Cold War Tech War, Apogee Books 2008
[iv] Memorandum for Staff, Space Task Group, August 10 1959
[v] Globe and Mail Oct 22 1958
[vi] Structural Design for Aerodynamic Heating, W. Dukes and A. Schnitt Bell Aircraft WADC Technical Report 55-305
[vii] Robert Godwin taped interview with Wilfred Dukes, 2003
[viii] Phil Lapp Memoir pg 130

Last Week:Space Based Radar, Black Brant Rockets and the Churchill Rocket Range,” in part 4 of “100 years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield.”
Next Week:Alouette, the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute, SPAR and STEMs” as part 6 of “100 years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield” continues!

Full Story »

 
General

Part 4: 100 Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield

Posted February 28, 2015 by Chuck Black

Space Based Radar, Black Brant Rockets and the Churchill Rocket Range



By Robert Godwin 
This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief synopsis of the history of astronautics in Canada.

The author wishes to thank the late Dr Phil Lapp and his wife Colleen Lapp for their permission to reveal some of Dr Lapp’s memoirs. Dr Lapp was a founder of the the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and of SPAR Aerospace. 

He passed away in 2013; the text herein was written by Robert Godwin.

In 1953, while on short leave from Bell Aircraft, at the James Forrestal Research Center in Princeton New Jersey, Kurt Stehling published a paper in which he described the advantages of using space-borne radar to “paint the surface of the Earth” and transmit the data back to the ground for study.[i]

Stehling delivered his paper, entitled Earth Scanning Techniques for Orbital Rocket Vehicles, on January 26th 1953 at a technical session of the American Rocket Society (ARS) in New York. He compared both optical and microwave systems, concluding that the optical systems at that time had the weight and resolving power advantage, but the microwave radar system didn’t rely on daylight or good weather.[ii]

In the years ahead space radar mapping technology would become one of Canada’s main fortés in space science and astronautics.

In July 1955 James Van Allen and Stehling’s rockoons would be covered in Time magazine. Five months later Stehling was recruited by the US Navy to work on their proposed earth satellite program.[iii] In 1956 the US government, in conjunction with the Canadian Defense Research Board (CDRB) announced that rockoons would be fired from ships in Frobisher Bay, and from Fort Churchill Manitoba and Baffin Island to study the upper atmosphere.[iv]

Indirectly, Stehling was bringing about the very role in space science that he had advocated for Canada back in 1948. He continued his swift ascent in the US space program and would establish a reputation for many progressive ideas, including inflatable space station modules.

Stehling was also the first to suggest that women astronauts, given equal training, would make better astronauts both physically and psychologically.[v]

Perhaps most importantly, he also contributed to the establishment of a US national space agency. Stehling was on the Rocket and Satellite Research Panel (along with Wernher von Braun[vi], Krafft Ehricke, James van Allen, Ernst Stuhlinger, Fred Whipple and others) which urged U.S. President Eisenhower in 1957 to form NASA.[vii]

_______________________________________________________________________________

Canada had played an important role in the two International Polar Year’s and so, along with many other countries, Canadian researchers recognized the importance of contributing to the proposed International Geophysical Year. In this regard Canada already offered a convenient vantage point for studying the high northern latitudes and particularly the Earth’s magnetic field. Therefore an arrangement was made in 1955 to establish a permanent scientific research establishment at Fort Churchill, with funding provided by the US Army.

The location selected at the mouth of the Churchill River had been used for vital observations as early as 1769 when astronomers William Wales and Joseph Dymond from the Royal Society traveled there to record a transit of Venus across the Sun. Wales and Dymond built two observatories at the Prince of Wales Fort which they used for the event.[viii] 186 years later the Churchill Research Range came into existence as one of the world’s key places for launching sounding rockets to the ionosphere and beyond.

The following year, just before the launch of Sputnik 1, the Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) commissioned a domestic rocket program which would eventually be named Black Brant.

This design and development program was to be undertaken by a Canadian based branch supplier of components to the Air Force’s CF-100 interceptor program, named the British Bristol Aeroplane Company. The Black Brant rocket, designed by Albert Fia of Alberta, would be the nearest thing to a space launcher that Canada would develop and over the next decade would become one of the two most expensive programs undertaken in Canadian space research.[ix]

The launch facilities at Churchill would quickly evolve and be able to accommodate a variety of medium size US-built rockets including the Arcas, Nike, Apache, Tomahawk, Astrobee, Aerobee and Javelin as well as the Canadian built and rapidly evolving Black Brant.

_______________________________________________________________________________

While things were getting up to speed at Churchill, back at Downsview Dr Phil Lapp, an engineer at DeHavilland, recognized the need for Canada to become more involved in the new science of astronautics. Immediately following the launch and consequent political shock of Sputnik 1, Lapp arranged for his colleagues at Downsview to start an informal astronautical group which he dubbed, The Canadian Astronautical Society (CAS).

The group had their first meeting on January 8th 1958 at the Special Projects office of DeHavilland in Downsview.[x] Over the next two years many meetings of the CAS took place, usually with invited guest speakers. One such speaker that Dr Lapp remembered with fondness was his old mentor Dr Charles Draper, the famed MIT scientist. In 1950 Lapp had earned one of the coveted positions to study for his graduate work at Draper’s labs in the United States. 

One of the first coordinated projects undertaken by Lapp’s CAS was their participation in Operation Moonwatch, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory study of the orbits of satellites. Members of the CAS stood out on the cold rooftop at DeHavilland in Downsview during the course of 1958 taking measurements and timings of the over-flights of Sputnik III, Explorer 1, Explorer IV and their various boosters. They published their findings in October 1958.
Robert Godwin.
The CAS also published several other papers, most notably Project CHARM (Canadian High Altitude Research Missile) and Project CLAMP (Canadian Lunar Antenna Moon Probe) which was a proposal for a sort-of mini Arecibo radio telescope for studying the moon’s surface; to be built in a natural bowl near Guelph, Ontario.
_____________________________________________________________
Robert Godwin is the owner and founder of Apogee Space Books. He is also the Space Curator at the Canadian Air & Space Museum

He has written or edited over 100 books including the award winning series “The NASA Mission Reports” and appeared on dozens of radio and television programs in Canada, the USA and England as an expert not only on space exploration but also on music. 

His books have been discussed on CNN, the CBC, the BBC and CBS 60 Minutes. He produced the first ever virtual reality panoramas of the Apollo lunar surface photography and the first multi-camera angle movie of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. His latest book was written with the late Frederick I Ordway III and is called “2001 The Heritage and Legacy of the Space Odyssey” about the history of spaceflight at the movies.

Footnotes

[i] New York Times, Aug 6 1953
[ii] Journal of the American Rocket Society Mar-Apr 1953
[iii] Globe and Mail December 14th 1955
[iv] Ibid. April 12th 1956
[v] Milwaukee Journal Sep 6 1955
[vi] Von Braun and British Interplanetary Society Chairman Arthur C. Clarke had both been on a multi-year program to persuade the residents of the USA and UK that space flight was inevitable. Both also published extensive prognostications in Canada, Clarke in 1947 in the Toronto Star and von Braun in 1956 in MacLeans Magazine.
[vii] New York Times Jul 30 1955, Dec 13 1957, Apr 10 1960
[viii] http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k55864n/f509.pagination
[ix] Upper Atmosphere and Space Programs in Canada, Chapman, Lapp, Patterson, Forsyth, Science Secretariat, 1967
[x] Phil Lapp Memoir Pg 117

Last Week: The Canadian Rocket Society Builds a Rocket for the CNE” in part 3 of “100 years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield.”


Next Week: “The Arrow: That Watershed Year when the Best Canadian Engineers moved to the US,” as part 5 of “100 years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield” continues!

Full Story »

 
General

Part 3: 100 Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield

Posted February 20, 2015 by Chuck Black

The Canadian Rocket Society Builds a Rocket for the CNEBy Robert Godwin This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief synop…

Full Story »

 
General

Part 2: 100 Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield

Posted February 14, 2015 by Chuck Black

Lawrence Manning, Kurt Stehling and the Growing Interest in SpaceBy Robert Godwin This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, is a brief …

Full Story »

 
General

Part 1: 100 Years of Aerospace History in Canada: From McCurdy to Hadfield

Posted February 7, 2015 by Chuck Black

Verne, The Fur Country, G.Y. Kaufman, Baldwin, McCurdy & Balfour CurrieBy Robert Godwin This paper, first presented at the 65th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in Toronto, Ontario from September 29th – October 3rd, 2014, i…

Full Story »



The Latest